Tomorrow is Built Today
Posted on March 30 2015
Warning: This post is seriously off-topic. If you're here to learn about eyelashes or eyebrows, turn around now! They are my obsession, and I will hit on them later, but not in this post. But, I did just find out we had this fabulous post about us!! Cool ;) Also this.
This picture is from my office in China: TOMORROW IS BUILT TODAY
The moment you've all been waiting for! The big reveal: why I am in China.
Well.. it's complicated.
In a way, the opportunity has been afforded to me because of all of you, so thank you for that. As most of you know, when I created Wink, it was just for myself (and it didn't have a name yet). I really didn't want to sell the product. I was scared..really scared. With a little testing (you can't argue with the facts) and a lot of encouragement from my friends, I finally decided to try it out--despite my immediate visceral reaction to the thought of failure.
Now here we are almost 2 years later (can you believe it's been 2 years?!). I finally have the courage to really pursue my dreams, because you all gave me the experience, the confidence and the bravery to do it. It doesn't mean everything turns out right, but I realized that I just need to do it. This time, a little further... to the other end of the world, to be exact.
In short: I came to China to further explore an idea that I had. If you know me, you know I like tackling big problems. Sometimes I bite off more than I can chew, but I still like a good problem--especially the type that other people are too afraid to tackle. I chose a big one this time. I'd rather not talk about it here, but if you're interested, I'm always happy to talk offline.
I'm currently living north of Hong Kong in Shenzhen, China and working in Huaqiangbei - the world's largest electronics market. Shenzhen is a "tier 1" city, as they say, just 25 years old and already inhabited by 14M people (compared to Bedford's 14,000 or so?), and an economic free zone in China. So, while there's still scary black vans on the corners (let's not talk about it), it's generally pretty Westernized for China.
The first few weeks were a huge cultural shock. It was difficult to find anything--food, water, shelter. I didn't know what I was eating (dog. yes. I ate dog once on accident.. sorry Charlie), I could barely understand numbers, despite taking 3 months of Chinese lessons every morning at 7am, and I was in everyone's way all the time. Everyone's way is a lot of "ways" in China.
All I have to say is this: when you wake up everyday, thank your lucky stars that you have the ability to effectively communicate with those around you. Until the power of language is taken away from you, you will never realize how powerful your everyday connections are.
Since coming to China, I've viewed every day, every moment as an opportunity for learning. I've made friends wherever and whenever I could. I've tried out the language, the food, the customs; it's been really fun and educational. I lost my pride and my ego, because I had to. My Mandarin is actually passable (finally!) and I've made some memories that I will never forget.
My biggest takeaway? If I've learned only one thing in China, it's this: resilience.
I've spent a good deal of time with entrepreneurs here--most of whom didn't make it to the big leagues. They pursued their dreams, and something happened--their code was stolen, their investors pulled out, their cofounders left--you name it. But what they all have in common is that they keep trudging. Even when the project is over, they pull themselves together and find a way, an idea--something--to keep them going. They don't believe that they were owed success. They don't believe they were entitled to it. But they still don't give up. Because in China, if you give up, you're done. There are 1.357 billion people waiting in line to take your place, and it's never been more in your face than it is now.
It's depressing, but in a way...inspiring. Never stop pursuing your dreams, or somebody else will.
A last tid bit: My chinese name (xiexie, Lin Wei Hao; ni shi wo zui hao de pengyou)
Roughly, it means more and more beautiful everyday. I'm blessed to have friends--new and old--and I'm blessed to be on this journey. My goal while I'm here is to live up to my name.
Thanks for listening! Please accept this puppy as a token of my appreciation..and excuse my language.